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Feature Preview: GoGrid’s Cloud Storage

September 22nd, 2008 by - 16,086 views

Note: this post was updated on 10/16/08

I don’t typically write about vaporware, but in this case, I will make an exception not only to finally get to use the phrase “cloud computing is truly vaporware” but also to seriously introduce this new GoGrid feature. Contrary to the definition of “vaporware,” Cloud Storage on GoGrid will be coming soon, so I wanted highlight many of the items in this upcoming release.

First, a picture is worth a thousand words. Below are a few screenshots of what is our vision of GoGrid’s Cloud Storage. Please note that these screenshots represent current ideas and may not actually represent the first implementation or subsequent updates.

GoGrid_storage_sm

GoGrid_storageOnHover_sm

Now for the juicy details:

  • Technical

    • You will have to request that GoGrid Cloud Storage be added to your GoGrid account. (Details to come)
    • Can be mounted as a drive (e.g., a “D:” drive, “slash mount” or shared mount) on all servers within a GoGrid Account
    • It is shared across all servers
    • You DO have to configure it in order to have it available on your GoGrid servers by using a Private IP. Instructions will be on the GoGrid Wiki.
    • Initial size is 10 GB for FREE (that’s right, the first 10 GB’s are free)
    • Your Cloud Storage will automatically scale as you add more data to it through “thin provisioning”
    • You cannot partition the Cloud Storage
    • With the first release, the GoGrid API will not be able to control Cloud Storage, however, you will be able to control your Cloud Storage via the GoGrid API in subsequent releases
  • Billing
    • Each additional GB of storage is $0.15 per GB per month over your free 10 GB
    • Billing for Cloud Storage is done monthly (not hourly)
    • Billing occurs for peak usage during a month. For example, if you start with 10 GB, scale up to 20 GB at some point during that same month and then scale back down to 10 GB, you are charged for that peak. (In this example, that would be $1.50 for the 10 GB over your free 10 GBs)
    • If you are about to go over your 10 GB free allocation, you will be visually notified within the GoGrid portal (e.g., your meter will turn red). You can then simply click ADD > Cloud Storage to initiate billing per GB over your initial 10 GB.
    • In the left-hand column of the GoGrid portal, a new widget will inform you of your total storage utilization and total cost for any overages
  • Security
    • Any data stored within the Cloud Storage will be automatically replicated to a Disaster Recovery (DR) infrastructure. Should a failure of the primary storage occur, a backup to within 24 hours of the incident will become automatically available. It is your responsibility, however, to back up any data added to your Cloud Storage within 24 hours or less by some other means.
    • The Cloud Storage tied to your GoGrid Account will not be accessible to other GoGrid users

Other enhancements planned for this exciting release are:

  • “On-Hovers” for all objects within the GoGrid Portal UI
    • Cloud Storage will show a meter for storage space used (prior to going over 10 GB) and Total Storage Utilization (after going over the 10 GB threshold)
    • Web/App/DB Servers will show Public IP addresses, Operating System, and RAM allocation
    • Load Balancers will show the real IP addresses and real IP ports, Virtual IPs (VIPs) and Virtual IP ports as well as the load balancing configuration type and persistence type

GoGrid_webOnHover_sm

When this upgrade is released, GoGrid users will have to request to have have Cloud Storage enabled for use, however, the other features mentioned above will auotmatically appear. Do note that the features mentioned above are subject to change. We hope you enjoy this exciting release! Oh, and this should all be available in November 2008!

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Michael Sheehan

Michael Sheehan, formerly the Technology Evangelist for GoGrid, is a recognized technology, social media, and cloud computing pundit and blogger who writes regularly about technology news and trends.

21 Responses to “Feature Preview: GoGrid’s Cloud Storage”

  1. DanB says:

    Will we be able to snapshot/backup a server to this storage? If so, how easy is it to restore or replicate a server from that backup?

  2. Brian says:

    Fabulous. This sounds like a real winner….and will be exactly what we need.

    Need to take a little time to digest what you have posted……

    -Brian

  3. Michael Sheehan says:

    Great questions!

    @DanB,
    Yes, you will be able to perform snapshots/cloning/restoring, however, we have not implemented this feature yet. Cloud Storage is a critical component that we needed to roll out first. Stay tuned!

    @Brian,
    Glad you like it! We are very excited about this feature and it was part of the reason why I wanted to get the information and details out early.

    @Adam,
    Good questions and I think you will be pleased with the answers. Since you are using a private network to transfer data, there is no charge to transfer “within the cloud.” If you are only using 10GBs of storage shared between a number of servers, since you are within the 10GB free limit allocation, you don’t pay anything.
    Also, there is no limit to how high you extend your Cloud Storage.

    Lastly, and to reiterate, there is no charge to transfer via your private network. The only bandwidth charges you incur within the GoGrid Cloud is for outbound transfers. Inbound is still free.

    -Michael

  4. Adam says:

    The storage fees for the cloud storage are very competitive, but what about the fees or limits on the actual usage of it. For example, what if we had 10 high traffic gogrid web servers, all using the cloud as a common source to put/pull files from. Only 10GB may be stored, but it may be accessed thousands of times.

    Also, is there an upward limit for how much storage can be added to the initial 100GB?

  5. Bryan Levine says:

    Another unmentioned feature included in this rollout is the ability to click and drag the Grid screen up and down to see more servers in a similar manner to Google Maps or iPhone applications. This is great for people with 20+ servers that need to be able to see their whole grid in one simple view.

  6. Wiley says:

    “You cannot partition the Cloud Storage”

    Does that mean I get one single chunk of storage and no more? What if, instead of one 100GB chunk, I want four 25GB chunks? Doable?

  7. Michael Sheehan says:

    @Wiley,

    You only get one shared Cloud Storage account per GoGrid account. It is a single chunk of scalable storage that is shared by all servers that are configured to connect to it. So, no, you can’t break it up into 4 25GB chunks.

    Thanks,
    Michael

  8. Andrew Teece says:

    What exactly is the cloud storage?

    Is it SAN disk space just a folder on a shared NAS?

    We have just finished testing the performance of SQL Server 2005 on Windows 2008 and were suitably impressed, but if this is SAN storage then perhaps the performance could further be improved. Also it would open up the possibilities of SQL Clusters.

  9. Michael Sheehan says:

    @Andrew,

    Think of it simply as an “attached drive” to your server. You can attach the same drive to multiple servers (however you can only have one Cloud Storage device).

    The performance of the drive and throughput should be fairly high.

    -Michael

  10. Andrew Teece says:

    Michael,
    Thanks for the reply. If it is an “attached drive” on multiple servers how does it present itself (this will affect how it can be used)?

    Does it appear as a new disk in device manager etc? This would seem to create locking problems to me if multiple servers are accessing it?

    Does it appear as a network drive? If so it would seem pretty limited in use as a primary data-store because applications (such as SQL) only work to ‘local’ disks.

    Do you think the performance would be better/worse than the existing C drive of your virtual machines?

    Andrew

  11. Michael Sheehan says:

    @Andrew,

    GGCS appears as a network drive. It really isn’t meant to be used for running SQL applications but you could house your data-store there as you mentioned.

    Also, if you do need a high performance DB structure, we will soon have the ability to do a “cross connect” to a traditional DB server (not in the cloud). If this is something that you might be interested in, please contact me: michael [at] gogrid.com .

    While we haven’t done any benchmarking comparing GGCS against the drive included within your GoGrid cloud server, we do expect to see similar performance between the two.

    Thanks,
    Michael

  12. Tom says:

    Wow, fantastic news! Can’t wait to see you guys roll this out, it’s something I’d be using straight away.

    On that note, whilst I can appreciate the complexities of backups, would you guys perhaps consider offering a “Backup+” plan that offers backups to within the last hour, say? This is something that I’d definitely pay extra for. Perhaps with this in mind, it might be possible to add extra storage nodes for backup purposes that would be independent at the hardware level, thus offering an extra layer? Naturally, for an extra price ;-)

    Anyway, thanks for keeping us updated,

    Tom.

  13. Michael Sheehan says:

    @Tom,

    Great suggestion on the “Backup+”. We are always looking at ways to extend the functionality of GoGrid to provide even more useful features. I will be sure that our Product Management group sees this.

    Thanks,
    Michael

  14. This was what I was looking for from GoGrid ;)

    What RAID configuration does this storage solution use under the covers? When mounting on Linux what client do we use? Is this just NFS storage? I would assume in this case we could mount our DBs to it however they would need to use separate partitions (there are no shared locks in standard NFS).

    How are you insuring overall GGCS performance across customers? Will the GGCS become the new shared choke point on GoGrid. Will this SAN have the same problems as Mosso/MT implementations? What measures have been put in place to avoid that? Are customers partitioned across physical hardware? Is the GGCS implemented on a grid based file system or something more traditional?

    I know these are a lot of questions, but these types of storage systems can often be the source of huge failures and broken SLAs. Also realize that the lack of this type of service is the only thing stopping me from giving GoGrid a try ;)

    A distributed LAMP architectural guide integrating the new storage grid would be great. From provisioning the nodes to what packages to install. How do we setup something so that at the end of the day we ftp PHPfiles up to our cluster and hit go?

  15. Bo Blangstrup says:

    Have you considered adding different types of storage? Like, a version for high performance SQL server databases, and another simply for backup storage and the like. Two very different scenarious IMO.

  16. Bryan Levine says:

    @ Travell,

    The Cloud Storage clusters are heavily RAID’ed, and our disaster recovery plan can restore a backup to within 24 hours of an incident.

    As far as Mosso and MT implementations of grid-based storage, I wouldn’t know that answer to that question; we’re not active users of their services :)

    To distribute a LAMP architecture, it should be as easy as instantiating several LAMP-enabled server images running in a clustered fashion with a back-end DB. Load balance your front-end servers for equal traffic distribution. You can then write some custom scripts to push and pull data from Cloud Storage to your servers using any of the transfer protocols mentioned above.

    @Bo Blangstrup,

    That’s a good suggestion and I will send this to our Product Management Team. You can also use a Windows 2003 or 2008 database server with MSSQL on GoGrid today.

  17. [...] Amazon, GoGrid, Rackspace (MOSSO), and now Microsoft (to name a few) all offer (or will offer soon) cloud-based [...]

  18. Raf Fiol says:

    Is the plan still to release this in November? I’m getting anxious!

  19. Michael Sheehan says:

    Today we launched Cloud Connect (see the GoGrid site for details).

    GoGrid’s Cloud Storage will be available in the 1st half of December. Don’t get anxious! It’s coming.

    -Michael

  20. Tom says:

    Michael will GoGrid’s storage solution be covered under a SAS70 Type II?

    This type of solution is exactly were looking for!

  21. Michael Sheehan says:

    @Tom,

    GoGrid’s parent company was SAS70 Type II certified recently which covered all products related to it, including GoGrid. Cloud Storage is a new feature that I’m not sure was part of the certification process or not. Regardless, when we go through our next re-certification, we make all attempts to ensure compliance across the board.

    -Michael

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